Decentrallisation of Planning in India

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ABSTRACT
Planning in India continued to be largely centralized till 1992 when the Constitution (73rd & 74th Amendment) Acts provided a constitutional basis for decentralized and democratic planning process, giving a legal status to rural (Panchayat) and urban
(Municipal) local bodies as self-government institutions. Planning today is practiced at national, sub-national, district and local levels, raising expectations that this would trigger development at all territorial levels. However, the last ten years have seen more hurdles than achievements in the decentralization process. Against this general background, this paper discusses the major issues and options related to decentralized planning in India. It describes how the macro-level planning model practiced in India, had left, for decades, a near vacuum for planning below the state level and created imbalances in regional and rural development, leading to economic distress and political crises; suggests positive measures to reduce regional imbalances through the organization of multilevel planning; examines the suitability of district as a satisfactory unit of planned development, suggesting alternatives where needed. The paper stresses that forces of decentralized planning have to be encouraged, vigorously pursued and sustained to enable it to strike deep roots in the planning process.
1.0 INTRODUCTION
Until the enactment of the Constitution (73 rd and 74 th Amendment) Acts, 1992, the planning and decision
- making functions in India remained centralized around the two political levels, namely the Union and the states whose spheres of responsibility had been defined in the Constitution. Urban and rural local bodies such as Municipalities and village Panchayats, had, by and large, functioned as agencies of civic functioning and rural development schemes and not as instruments of micro-level planning and development. This design of the political and development set-up, in the country

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